Tucson and Saguaro National Park

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Beautiful desert sunset last night.  We spent the day grocery shopping and washing sheets etc. in anticipation of boondocking in Quartzite with the Birds of a Feather bluebird rally.  Will get there tomorrow.  After chores were complete we explored Saguaro National Park which was awesome.  The Saguaro cactus were much taller than we had imagined and the other cacti were as diverse as the terrain across Texas.  Some looked like coral, some penguins, some just scary and others like bird nests…  Hope you enjoy as much as we did.

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Peace and Love to all.

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On the road again – West Texas and Beyond

 

img_0524Finishing up our San Antonio visit, Saturday we went up to Fredericksburg and around to Luckenbach. Cowboy country, although as we rose in elevation the clouds moved in so we really couldn’t see a lot.

We road tripped up to Austin TX and saw the Capitol on Sunday. Quite large compared to NC Capitol.

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Finally got the bus out of the shop late Monday afternoon so we spent one last night with Gail and Leonard. You know they had to twist our arms since they are – 5 star chefs – 5 star accommodations – 5 star tour guides – 5 star entertainment and most of all just 5 star people. We pulled out of the Triple L Ranch on Tuesday and went to Fort Stockton about 5 ½ hours away.

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The trip across west TX was quite interesting. The terrain really changed and changed again. . They say west Texas is boring but we found it amazing. It seemed that the terrain changed as often as the weather does in SE North Carolina.

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Flat with small bushes…

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Roads that seem to go on for ever…

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Flat top mountains reminiscent of old cowboy movies…

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Rolling hills..

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Wind mills…

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Smooth mountains…

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Slightly rolling land with no bushes…

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Flatter land with no bushes…

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Smooth mountains in the background..

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Rocky mountains…and it went on for miles about 600 miles to be exact…

New Mexico brought snow topped mountains.

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From Fort Stockton we headed to Las Cruces NW. approx 4 hour drive, but we made it longer by leaving as soon as we arrived and going to White Sands National Memorial. It was well worth the drive. We saw snow on the mountains as we passed, and a rain storm followed us most of the way. It is amazing how far you can see weather coming. While at White Sands, the storm passed us by with only a few sprinkles. But then there was a sun set to the west and the storm with a small rainbow to the east. Spectacular site, the pictures do not do it justice. Long day, but a great experience none the less.

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On to Arizona tomorrow.  Peace and love.

San Antonio

 

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Port Arthur to San Antonio – Drove straight thru Houston on I10 at noon. Over passes galore but according to other travelers the straight route is better than the by-passes. Traffic was heavy but not as bad as you may expect. Houston was huge, thought we had passed the sky line, but then came another and another. Trip was nice until about 100 miles outside of San Antonio when we started to lose air pressure in the back of the coach.

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Made it to San Antonio barely late Monday afternoon. We ended up dropping our home at Alamo City Truck Shop in San Antonio because it wouldn’t make it any further. We didn’t believe that it is a serious problem but one that has to be fixed. Here we are on Saturday and they finally have the part on order and it will be in Monday. Hopefully they will install and we will be back on the road by Tuesday.

The shop was only 30 minutes from Aunt Gail and Uncle Leonard’s and we were planning to park on their property anyway, so we have parked in their guest room instead. They have been the most gracious host and we have truly enjoyed reconnecting and visiting with family.

Nellie was also having some issues so we took her to a vet. She has a urinary tract infection and crystals in her bladder so she is on antibiotics and been prescribed special food to dissolve the crystals. We will be taking her for a follow up in a month (where ever we may be) and hopefully the crystals will be cleared up.   Leonard and Nellie have quickly become BFFs not sure what she will do when we get on the road again.

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All that being said, San Antonio is a lovely city. We visited the Alamo, walked around the river walk and went to Central Market on Wednesday. The Alamo was very interesting, lots of history I had either forgotten or never knew. On the river walk, we stopped by the Hilton, Gail has a picture of Randy, Larry, Wendy and Ara there from 1973. We recreated the picture of Randy with straw in his mouth and tongue stuck out.   The river walk was beautiful although the river was smaller than I would have thought with the landscaping and concrete banks it reminded me of Disney World. I understand that the river has been dammed and reduced to keep the downtown area from flooding in the heavy rains which is why it is so small and controlled in that area.

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Central Market is the most diverse high end grocery store I have ever been in. The produce section alone was larger than some stores. The Budda’s hands are in the citrus section. Not sure what they taste like or are used for, but they are certainly interesting looking. Fresh fruit tortes were only a small part of the desert section but very decorative and I am sure delicious. They even have cooking classes upstairs where you enjoy a multiple course dinner and participate or observe the techniques preparing the dishes. Gail and Leonard said they took several of these classes and that they really enjoyed them.

Thursday we connected with Kathy and Michael Smith (Billie’s oldest daughter and son-in-law) and had a nice visit and Tex-Mex lunch.   They live on the other side of S. A. so we stopped by the shop and checked on the bus and gathered some more clothes since we had not realized it would take this long. The Alamo Café where we had lunch was one of Daddy’s favorites in town and we enjoyed Kathy and Michaels stories of his visits.

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Friday we toured Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard, she is a good friend of Gail and Leonard’s and come to find out a client of Kathy and Michael’s. Even in a large city it is a small world. The orchard was larger than we expected, but being winter it was no as lush as other times of the year. A nice destination, they have a small restaurant open for lunches, gift shop, greenhouse area and of course the orchard.

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Chef Gail has kept us well fed and historian Leonard has kept us well entertained with his stories. Although we would love to be back on the road, this is just a small hiccup in the adventures ahead. The weather has been wonderful for January, overcast most of the time but highs around 80 and lows in the mid 60, shorts in January we are not complaining.

Even with our first home evacuation and Nellie’s illness we have a thousand things to be grateful for.   A great and gracious family being top of the list this week!!! Hopefully we will be back on the road soon. Peace and Love.

 

 

Galveston, TX

p1060151We made it to Texas, Port Arthur to be exact which is a little east of Houston and Galveston.  We were planning to head straight to San Antonio, but with a sunny day (although cold) we decided to visit Galveston.  My daddy and step mom (Gib and Billie) used to really enjoy visiting Galveston so in his honor and our curiosity we stayed two nights and took a day trip over.  We drove down Bolivar Peninsula and took the FREE ferry over to Galveston.

The sunny day was greatly appreciated and enjoyed by all, Nellie included.  She loved getting out for a run.  Don’t think any of her feet are touching the ground in this picture.

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As you know Galveston had a great disaster in 1900 and lost over 6,000 people during a hurricane.  They installed a seawall that is currently 10 miles long, 17 feet high and 16 feet wide at its base.  There are parts that still have a small beach but mostly it appeared to reduce the beach area to nothing at least at the tides when we visited.

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Although they have the seawall in the downtown area, there is still a large concern for rising water as is evident by the school on stilts.

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The drive thru coffee shop on stilts.

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And the home on stilts with a handicap ramp.

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Although making fun of it, we truly understand the need for pilings and elevation your home and belongings especially after our time on Topsail Island. But Bolivar Peninsula/Goat Island kind of takes it to another level.  Some of their houses are two stories high and have decks under the house instead of widow walks on top.  The shade may be appreciated during the hot Texas summers who knows?

P1060109.JPG There were also some very pretty and interesting sights in Galveston, The light house on Bolivar Island.

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White pelicans.

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And of course Nellie…

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Love and peace to all.  Let the good times roll!!

West of the Mississippi

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We enjoyed a nice sunny day in Gulf State Park Tuesday and departed on Wednesday staying an extra day to enjoy the weather.  We had a lovely day biking and hiking around the  state park.  It was steaks on the barbie for dinner. Kind of needed a nice day without travel and without rain.  Trails have been enhanced since their web site map and have a lot more paved paths and wooden bridges.  Nice park.

Choose to take I10 across the rest of AL, MS and until Lafayette, LA since it would be a 6 hour drive and we typically prefer 4-5 hours.  The coach although a smooth drive it is not a Toyota.  Five hours behind the wheel is plenty.

The trip brought some firsts – driving thru the first tunnel in the bus (Mobile AL), the first 20 mile bridge right past Baton Rouge, our first crossing the Mississippi River on the road  and our first stay at Betty’s RV park.

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Went to the Tabasco museum and factory in Avery Island, LA today and enjoyed the daily 4:30- pm Happy Hour at Betty’s.  They are calling for cold rainy weather today and we depart for Texas tomorrow.  Abbeville is a nice moderate sized town in south central LA, a nice stop on the way across.  There are a many old plantation houses open for tours but they are kind of pricey for us, lots of rice fields and state parks that are reasonably priced usually $2 entrance fee.  We are also near Lake Peigneur, the lake that Texaco drained while drilling for oil when they drilled into a salt mine in 1980.  Look it up, the youtube videos are amazing.

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Staying in Abbeville until Saturday morning. Then heading to south of Houston and on to San Antonio.  We plan to stay with family there and enjoy a couple of days  with them.  Love to all and hope you are doing well.

P.S HAPPY BIRTHDAY TERESA, love you much!!!

 

Thoughts from Alabama…roll tide

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Coastal Alabama reminds me much of home, old Long Beach (30+ years ago) on the west end near Fort Morgan with small beach cottages and Myrtle Beach in Gulf Shores proper and heading east with high rises and souvenir shops.  Inland there are many large live oaks with lots of Spanish moss and quaint small towns.  Here on the coast maritime forests, yaupon trees and sandspurs.

With the high rain chance today we went backwards to Florida and visited the National Naval Aviation Museum which was really very interesting.  I would not really think of Naval and Aviation together, but that is what air craft carriers are all about.  Amazing how soon after the Wright brothers aviation was really pretty sophisticated and a very important part of WW1 and WW2.

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We have had a nice but wet visit.  Today included tornado warnings and winds that rocked the bus at least as hard as hurricane Matthew earlier this summer.  Luckily the strong winds did not last long, but were a little concerning.  All in all it has been a nice stop along our route to AZ.  Next stop Betty’s RV Park in Abbeville, LA.

As much as this coast reminds us of home please keep vigilant and do not let the government allow off shore drilling in NC or our coast will look like this…

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